August 28, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Steel Exports Rise

  • According to the U.S. Labor Department, 234,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the week that ended Aug. 19, down from 236,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell while the number of individuals who continued to receive for benefits remained steady at 1.954 million during week that ended Aug. 12.
  • American Metal Market (subscription required) reported last week that U.S. steel exports increased 12.3 percent between June 2016 and June 2017. Exports of oil country goods rose an incredible 102 percent year-over-year. For the first six months of the year, exports were up 13 percent over the same time period in 2016. Shipments to the European Union were up 50 percent from January to June while exports to Canada and Mexico rose 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s manufacturing index rose to +16 in August from +10 in July. The bank said, “Factory activity increased solidly at durable goods plants, particularly for electronics, metals, and aircraft products, while nondurable goods activity rose more modestly.” The Richmond Federal Reserve, meanwhile, reported that its manufacturing reading held steady at +14 in August. The bank’s employment index improved, but its shipments and new orders indices fell slightly.
  • In other economic news: The Chicago Federal Reserve’s National Activity Index, a gauge of future economic growth was -0.1 in July, down from +0.14 in June; the number of new homes sold in the United States fell 8.9 percent from June 2017 to July 2917 and 9.4 percent from July 2016 to July 2017; and the number of existing homes sold in the United States fell 1.3 percent from June to July, but was up 2.1 percent year-over-year.